When you look at the history of the communities, villages and towns of Kings County you’ll generally find family surnames that are synonymous with them. To put it another way, there are usually families that have lived in some of our county villages and towns since the early days and in one way or another have put their mark on them.
An obvious example is the once prominent DeWolf family town who have left their name on a thriving university town. Eaton, in his Kings County history, tells us that naming Wolfville after the DeWolfs was “entirely appropriate,” since “along the… main street lived a considerable group of families” with this surname. Prominent among them was Judge Elisha DeWolf, who according to Eaton was “the leading man of the village.”
Eaton indicates that Wolfville was named “by 1829 or ’30,” but I’ve also seen 1828 mentioned as the year the DeWolf family was honoured. Looking at a provincial directory published about 30 years after Wolfville was named, we find that the DeWolfs are still the prominent family in the town, with several of the family holding public offices. Oddly, the town name was spelled “DeWolfe” when the directory was published in 1864.
Another example of an area being named after a prominent family is Billtown. Eaton’s Kings County history notes that Billtown was settled in around 1770 by representatives of the Bill and Rockwell family. The Bills were Cornwallis grantees and were prominent in the 18th and 19th century as members of the legislature and as civic officers.
Eaton doesn’t tell us when Billtown was named. However, the community is listed in Hutchinson’s 1864-65 directory where it is spelled as Bill Town. The directory lists two Bills as members of the community at this time, William C. Bill and Caleb R. Bill, M.P.P. Members of the Bill family, descendants of the original settlers, still live in the community.
Hall’s Harbour isn’t named after a prominent citizen of the community and is probably one of the few areas in Kings County to honour a scoundrel. However, there are several family names long associated with the community, among them Parker, Simpson, and Neville. Hutchinson’s Directory list four Parkers living in the community at the time and one Nevils. I assume that Nevils was later changed to Neville.
The Eagles family has been associated with this area since 1763 when John Eagell received a grant of 500 acres in Horton. The name obviously was later changed to Eagles and is found as such in Hutchinson’s Directory for areas such as Gaspereau and Wolfville. In 1864 Joseph Eagles was a blacksmith in Gaspereau, and Gideon Eagles a shoemaker.
Ubiquitous, that is, everywhere, aptly applies to the Bishop surname. Few families have had such an impact on this area as the Bishops, unless it’s the Eatons. About a century after arriving in Kings County, members of the Bishop family were established in most major communities. Hutchinson’s Directory lists the Bishops as farmers, millers, teachers, way office keepers, watchmakers, carriagemakers and blacksmiths.